Limitations of checkpoint inhibitor cancer immunotherapy include induction of autoimmune syndromes and resistance of many cancers. Since CD318, a novel CD6 ligand, is associated with the aggressiveness and metastatic potential of human cancers, we tested the effect of an anti-CD6 monoclonal antibody, UMCD6, on killing of cancer cells by human lymphocytes. UMCD6 augmented killing of breast, lung, and prostate cancer cells through direct effects on both CD8+ T cells and NK cells, increasing cancer cell death and lowering cancer cell survival in vitro more robustly than monoclonal antibody checkpoint inhibitors that interrupt the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1)/PD-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) axis. UMCD6 also augmented in vivo killing by human peripheral blood lymphocytes of a human breast cancer line xenotransplanted into immunodeficient mice. Mechanistically, UMCD6 upregulated the expression of the activating receptor NKG2D and downregulated expression of the inhibitory receptor NKG2A on both NK cells and CD8+ T cells, with concurrent increases in perforin and granzyme B production. The combined capability of an anti-CD6 monoclonal antibody to control autoimmunity through effects on CD4+ lymphocyte differentiation while enhancing killing of cancer cells through distinct effects on CD8+ and NK cells opens a potential new approach to cancer immunotherapy that would suppress rather than instigate autoimmunity.


Jeffrey H. Ruth, Mikel Gurrea-Rubio, Kalana S. Athukorala, Stephanie M. Rasmussen, Daniel P. Weber, Peggy M. Randon, Rosemary J. Gedert, Matthew E. Lind, M. Asif Amin, Phillip L. Campbell, Pei-Suen Tsou, Yang Mao-Draayer, Qi Wu, Thomas M. Lanigan, Venkateshwar G. Keshamouni, Nora G. Singer, Feng Lin, David A. Fox


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